American Consequences - October 2017

BOB MENENDEZ Speaking of eye doctors, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez had a doozy. Salomon Melgen, his ophthalmologist, got rich from, among other things, overbilling Medicare for tens of millions of dollars. Menendez was happy to share in the wealth by indulging in private plane rides, expensive vacations, and other gifts that allowed the senator to live the life of luxury he always craved. In return, Menendez intervened to get visas for Melgen’s model girlfriends, cleared the way for him to receive a lucrative foreign contract, and pressured Senate colleagues and the Obama administration to turn a blind eye to Medicare fraud. Perhaps lowest of all, when Menendez was indicted for corruption, he accused the Justice Department of targeting him and his eye doctor because they’re Hispanic. His trial, expected to end by Thanksgiving, is a showcase for the kind of bad character that worried the founders. And the Really, The Bad

As a politician, Bradley dared to be dull, digging into low-return but worthy issues like Mexican debt relief. His own party could never quite figure him out, especially his advocacy of lower tax rates to spur growth. As much as any public figure he is responsible for the last great effort at tax reform thirty years ago, lowering rates and closing loopholes. Democrats weren’t supposed to do things like that back then. (Or now, come to think of it.) In semi-retirement, Bradley contents himself with good works and making occasional attempts to push his party in a more Bradley-esque direction. And he’s still dull.


Paul is the nearest thing to a true-blue libertarian in national office. His colleagues – especially in the Republican leadership – hate him for it, but Paul rarely budges on matters of principle while somehow

maintaining his influence as a pragmatic politician. His small-government bona fides are enhanced by his willingness to put his own expertise to use as a private citizen to help the disadvantaged. An ophthalmologist, he regularly travels his state of Kentucky to do eye surgeries for free, and has pursued similar missions around the world. He is a walking repudiation of the canard that libertarians are heartless libertines who prefer to let the poor languish.

Really Bad ANTHONYWEINER Even Machiavelli would be appalled.

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